Friday, October 05, 2007

Rugby World Cup quarter-finals Saturday!

[Winner Pool B] vs. ENGLAND [Runner-up Pool A]

AUSTRALIA: 1. Matt Dunning, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Guy Shepherdson, 4. Nathan Sharpe, 5. Daniel Vickerman, 6. Rocky Elsom, 7. George Smith, 8. Wycliff Palu, 9. George Gregan, 10. Berrick Barnes, 11. Lote Tuqiri, 12. Matt Giteau, 13. Stirling Mortlock (captain), 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 15. Chris Latham. RESERVES: 16. Adam Freier, 17. Al Baxter, 18. Hugh McMeniman, 19. Stephen Hoiles, 20. Phil Waugh, 21. Julian Huxley, 22. Drew Mitchell.

ENGLAND: 1. Andrew Sheridan, 2. Mark Regan, 3. Phil Vickery (captain), 4. Simon Shaw, 5. Ben Kay, 6. Martin Corry, 7. Lewis Moody, 8. Nick Easter, 9. Andy Gomarsall, 10. Jonny Wilkinson, 11. Josh Lewsey, 12. Mike Catt, 13. Mathew Tait, 14. Paul Sackey, 15. Jason Robinson. RESERVES: 16. George Chuter, 17. Matt Stevens, 18. Lawrence Dallaglio, 19. Joe Worsley, 20. Peter Richards, 21. Olly Barkley, 22. Dan Hipkiss.

Date: Saturday, 6 October
Kick-off: 15:00 local (14:00 BST; 13:00 GMT) 09:00 AM ET (Toronto, New York)
Venue: Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, France
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Touch judges: Paul Honiss (New Zealand), Nigel Owens (Wales)
Television match official: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Assessor: Tappe Henning (South Africa)
Full Rugby Planet preview - click here.

[Winner Pool C] vs. FRANCE [Runner-up Pool D]

NEW ZEALAND: 1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Anton Oliver, 3. Carl Hayman, 4. Keith Robinson, 5. Ali Williams, 6. Jerry Collins, 7. Richie McCaw (captain), 8. Rodney So'oialo, 9. Byron Kelleher, 10. Dan Carter, 11. Sitiveni Sivivatu, 12. Luke McAlister, 13. Mils Muliaina, 14. Joe Rokocoko, 15. Leon MacDonald. RESERVES: 16. Keven Mealamu, 17. Neemia Tialata, 18. Chris Jack, 19. Chris Masoe, 20. Brendon Leonard, 21. Nick Evans, 22. Isaia Toeava.

FRANCE: 1. Olivier Milloud, 2. Raphaël Ibañez (captain), 3. Pieter de Villiers, 4. Fabien Pelous, 5. Jérôme Thion, 6. Serge Betsen, 7. Thierry Dusautoir, 8. Julien Bonnaire, 9. Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 10. Lionel Beauxis, 11. Cédric Heymans, 12. Yannick Jauzion, 13. David Marty, 14. Vincent Clerc, 15. Damien Traille. RESERVES: 16. Dimitri Szarzewski, 17. Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18. Sébastien Chabal, 19. Imañol Harinordoquy, 20. Frédéric Michalak, 21. Christophe Dominici, 22. Clément Poitrenaud.

Date: Saturday, 6 October
Kick-off: 20:00 local (19:00 GMT) 03:00 PM ET (Toronto, New York)
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Touch judges: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Tony Spreadbury (England)
Television match official: Chris White (England)
Assessor: Steve Hilditch (Ireland)
Full Rugby Planet preview - click here.


No decision on All Blacks shirts

The jersey controversy at the Rugby World Cup is still not resolved.

World Cup organisers are still dragging the chain over the New Zealand - France strip clash.

Tests have shown the All Blacks' alternative grey strip clashes with the French dark blue.


ABs might yet wear black

Meanwhile, there is also a chance the All Blacks may yet play the game in their traditional black jersey after tests which featured a simulated game by Cardiff club players left host broadcaster ITV worried about a clash of colours.

The All Blacks are meant to wear their alternative silver strip after they lost a coin toss to see who had first choice of jersey.

France were to play in their blue jersey, which has been darkened and now clashes with the All Blacks jersey.

However, the television tests done in Cardiff this week have left ITV executives worried that the All Blacks silver jersey may also clash with the French strip.

One solution could be to tell France they have to wear their alternative white jersey. The All Blacks could be left in their silver strip, or allowed to wear the black one.

An IRB spokesman acknowledged it seemed to be taking a long time to resolve the issue but it was important the jerseys were distinguishable.


The Shanghaid RWC

The number of hijacks at this RWC is another slap in the face for the racially structured IRB. Wales and Ireland shanghaid back home, France shanghaid to Cardiff, Scots shanghaiing the All Black jersey and then their players being so embarrassed they wore camouflage, and now the hijacking of the Black strip by the IRB, Nike and the Ayatollah Laporte.

The Black strip is the most famous and loved in rugby and it will be denied the world for a second time in less than a week. The whole world may not hate England and Australia, but everyone loves the All Blacks except a few xenophobic hacks. The All Blacks play with imagination, skill and risk. They are worth the price of a ticket, like all the Pacicfic nations, except Australia. It shows how scared the Home Union dominated racist Gerrymander is, that the All Blacks will dominate this tournament, like they have the world for the past four years.


Wynne Gray: Saga as simple as black and white:

The jersey debacle bodes well for the IRB's summit meeting about an integrated global season. That will also be chaired by Blind Freddie.

For all their flaws, it seemed colour-blindness was not on the list of IRB sports crimes. However the farce about the jersey clashes in Cardiff and for the All Blacks pool game against Scotland has been extraordinary.

The saga spluttered on after All Black manager Darren Shand lost a coin toss which meant his side were asked to wear their alternate silver-grey jersey because their traditional uniform clashed with France's new inky-blue black strip.

Not everyone was convinced that was the best solution. The tournament broadcasters, ITV, remained concerned about the jarring new jerseys and filmed them at a suburban Cardiff rugby ground to make sure.

Photographs were also sent to World Cup officials. Officials from both sides saw the chance to agitate in an escalating manufacturers' turf war.

Nike sponsor France and there is no doubt around the All Blacks camp they changed the Tricolores uniform to create a problem with the adidas-sponsored All Black strip.

And the longer the delay, the stronger the All Blacks' case to play in their traditional colour.

Every World Cup team sent two sets of their jerseys last year to World Cup officials for inspection to avoid this sort of confusion.

How the mess was not sorted out then is baffling. Maybe the clothes police were interested in only measuring logos on the jerseys or the size of the stitching and overlooked any colour clashes.

It became a sideshow which threatened to take the gloss off an already shabby decision to stage a quarter-final in Cardiff. The players largely ignored the issue although the French did wonder about their supporters having to chant their chants to Allez Blanc.

Meanwhile there was no word from the IRB, the sporting czars who meet after this tournament to solve an integrated international schedule.

If they couldn't sort the jersey chaos at Murrayfield for Scotland's home match against the All Blacks, what hope in Cardiff?

Forget the coin toss and tournament rules because they were clearly defective.

New Zealand should have played in their traditional black while the French should have been made to wear their alternate strip.


Grey versus white showdown looms in Cardiff:

CARDIFF - France have backed down in the battle over playing strips ahead of tomorrow's rugby World Cup quarterfinal against New Zealand, saying they are prepared to wear a white strip if necessary.

The drawn out saga over who wears what in tomorrow's match at Millennium Stadium crystallised today when France told the International Rugby Board (IRB) they would compromise on their deep dark blue outfit as long as the All Blacks still wore their alternate grey strip.

The two most likely scenarios are that France will keep their blue jersey and wear white shorts and socks, or that they will wear an all-white outfit which was to be sent from Paris this morning (NZ time).

It could lead to the farcical sight of neither team wearing their first-choice strip - with a New Zealand team dressed in grey playing a French side in all white.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry again side-stepped the issue today, saying it was irrelevant to him and the players.

"As far as we know, we're going to be wearing silver," he said.

"It's got the same technology as the other (jersey), we've got no concern about that.

"It'll be a contrast of colours, and that's the main thing isn't it?"

A coin toss on Tuesday was the start of what has turned into a messy and unwanted issue for the IRB.

All Blacks manager Darren Shand lost the toss, meaning his side had to forfeit their traditional All Black outfit for the grey uniform they wore against Scotland in Edinburgh two weeks ago.

That game was spoiled visually as the alternate strip closely resembled Scotland's.

Concerned about a repeat this weekend, host broadcasters ITV have spent three days running television screen comparisons on both All Blacks' strips against the French outfit, which is considerably darker for this tournament than their traditional blue.

Neither combination suited ITV and the IRB today asked France if they would change.

French manager Jo Maso said his team had agreed to compromise mainly because the sellout crowd of nearly 80,000 spectators and millions of television viewers deserved to watch a quality spectacle.

The issue was expected to be concluded later today (NZ time) but don't expect All Blacks captain Richie McCaw to lose sleep over the outcome.

"It doesn't change a whole lot at all," he said.

"Whether we're wearing black or have to change, the boys haven't really thought about it this week.

"The jersey doesn't decide whether you play well or not, it's the guys that put the jersey on."



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